Article

Biochar and urban solid refuse ameliorate the inhospitality of acidic mine tailings and foster effective spontaneous plant colonization under semiarid climate

Journal ar
Journal of Environmental Management
  • Volumen: 292
  • Fecha: 15 August 2021
  • ISSN: 10958630 03014797
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112824
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Academic Press
© 2021 Elsevier LtdPhytomanagement is considered a suitable option in line with nature-based solutions to reduce environmental risks associated to metal(loid) mine tailings. We aimed at assessing the effectiveness of biochar from pruning trees combined with compost from urban solid refuse (USR) to ameliorate the conditions of barren acidic (pH ~5.5) metal(loid) mine tailing soils (total concentrations in mg kg¿1: As ~220, Cd ~40, Mn ~1800, Pb ~5300 and Zn ~8600) from Mediterranean semiarid areas and promote spontaneous plant colonization. Two months after amendment addition were enough to observe improvements in chemical and physico-chemical tailing soil properties (reduced acidity, salinity and water-soluble metals and increased organic carbon and nutrients content), which resulted in lowered ecotoxicity for the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus. Recalcitrant organic carbon provided by biochar remained in soil whereas labile organic compounds provided by USR were consumed over time. These improvements were consistent for at least one year and led to lower bulk density, higher water retention capacity and higher scores for microbial/functional-related parameters in the amended tailing soil. Spontaneous growth of native vegetation was favored with amendment addition, but adult plants of remarkable size were only found after three years. This highlights the existence of a time-lag between the positive effects of the amendment on tailing soil properties being observed and these improvements being translated into effective spontaneous plant colonization.

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